Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Thoughts and Gingerbread-Pear Muffins

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are finding some 
sweet and special moments at this busy time of year.
Thank you for your dear and kind visits, 
which make my days extra sweet and special, too. 


We have had a long stretch of clear skies with the 
most beautiful of sunrises, here in the foothills 
near Mt. Rainier. 

I caught this illuminating moment as the sun rose
over the mountains, just as it was framed by 
my little wreath in the glass door. 

The garden tuteur on the deck creates an exaggerated 
mimicry of the Christmas tree topper through the lace curtains. 

Here you can see it on the other side.

It's hard to believe that my white sweet allysum is still 
blooming! We've had several inches of snow in November, 
along with two weeks of cold nights in the 30's since then. 

This small area gets full sunshine all day and is elevated 
about 5 feet, so I am sure that has helped. 
I am certainly not complaining!
So thankful for the sunshine and the little flowers to
brighten my day.

The light has been lovely, but all things must pass, 
and we will be returning to our perpetually gray skies
by the weekend. 

I met up with my daughter, and her sweetheart's little girl,
for lunch and shopping last weekend in a nearby small town. 

I tried to get some shots of the beautiful store windows, 
but the sunlight caused reflections of the buildings
across the way. 

Charming, old brick buildings
 in an historic farming and railroad town are now 
antique and specialty shops, 
with a few little restaurants and cafe's. 

This little dog made us smile :)

This was painted on the side of one of the buildings. 
You can see how large it is - the blue sky shows above, 
and the sidewalk is below. 

This region is known as 'The South Sound', 
as it lies between the southern end of Puget Sound 
and the Cascade mountains of Washington State. 

Our slogan is 'Live like the mountain is out'. 

When Mt. Rainier is 'out', it can be seen for many miles
all around and means it is a beautiful, sunny day :)

Just to prove the point, this para-glider was making 
the most of our slogan, inexplicably flying 
over the major arterial on my way home. 

Just to the left of here lies open farmland, 
where I am sure it was headed for a landing. 

The mountain was certainly 'out' and framed 
beautifully by our lovely forestland. 

I drove home thinking of how fortunate I am 
to be living here, and to be spending the day 
with my beautiful daughter and a precious little girl. 

After all of the struggles that Ramblin' Man and I 
have had - starting out together so young, 
moving 3000 miles from our childhood
 homes in New England, 
and raising a family while building our own home
on raw land - we are now enjoying the results 
of all those years of hard work and perseverance. 

It was truly difficult at times. 
But I wouldn't change a single day. 

It made us who we are, and gave us an incredible
sense of gratitude for every tender mercy of help along the way.

I found a few little treasures while I was out shopping, 
and of course this little angel had to come home with me. 

I found these glittery white pine cones
which filled my pressed glass bowls just perfectly. 

For my old cupboard - 
the sweetest little vintage box.....

It's just right for my collection of vintage post cards. 

All the decorating and shopping has put me
in the mood for a holiday treat.  

Here's the easy recipe.....

Gingerbread Pear Muffins

Makes 12

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup light molasses
1 egg
1 medium pear, peeled and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups

Whisk all dry ingredients together in large bowl

Whisk all wet ingredients together in medium bowl. 
Stir in pear. Add to flour mixture, stirring just 
until moistened. Spoon batter evenly into prepared cups. 

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers
comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan
and cool on wire rack 10 minutes before serving. 


So good with a hot cuppa of your favorite brew. 

I love pretty seasonal napkins. 

This little frame was another shopping find. 
I was going to put it on my vanity, 
but decided to use it for my holiday table first. 

The sweet scene is cut from a Christmas card. 

You can't have too much sparkle this time of year :)

We had a little dog like that years ago, 
a border collie named Twiggy. 

Her name came from the iconic model, 
as her legs were as slender as twigs. 

I rescued her from the pound and she was 
a loving companion until the end. 

She loved fetching and could find any ball 
no matter how far into the woods it was thrown. 
She especially loved when Ramblin' Man 
practiced his golf game, and would bring 
back most every ball. 

Once in a while, one would be lost, and we 
have found them years later, wedged in rotted logs
or in the roots of stumps. I found one as recently 
as this summer - and it always brings a little tear
and warm thoughts of this sweet little pet. 
So thankful for the devoted companions
that spend their lives with us. 

As I clean up, I am enjoying the late afternoon 
sunshine out the window. 

A miniature winter scene....

I crafted this fragrant vignette
 out of clove-studded mandarins, cinnamon
stick bundles and whole allspice. 

My little bird keeps watch as I put my cup away. 


This time of year can be stressful for all those who 
are the keepers and creators of the 'Holiday Spirit'. 
The unsung heroes and heroines who put in those extra 
hours to 'make spirits bright'. 
There's the decorating, the shopping, the gift wrapping, 
the gatherings, the charities, the cooking and baking - 
all extra activities on top of normally busy lives. 

If you are the primary spirit brightener, please 
remember to give yourselves a break. Look for 
ways to lighten the load and don't forget to treat yourself
while you are treating everyone else. 

And if you are one of the lucky ones who get to 
just 'show up', please remember to appreciate 
all the hard work and care that goes into
 making your holiday a special time of year. 

Sometimes we forget to personally acknowledge 
all that goes into the making of a special day. 
Be somebody's angel and let them know 
how truly wonderful they are. 


Today I am linking with:

Thankful Thursday

Won't you join the fun?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

'Tis the Season

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are finding 
a few precious moments to enjoy this beautiful season! 

I'm sure all of you have been busy with holiday 
preparations! I am running a bit behind, but I am finally 
done 'decking the halls', so won't you come inside 
and share a cup of cocoa while I show you around? 

I'll heat up the cocoa while I take your coat. 

It's been cold outside, but beautifully sunny. 

The sun has been streaming in on slanted rays, 
illuminating all the dusty corners, so as 
I have been decorating, I've also been washing 
windows and dusting away cobwebs. 

This year I've kept things light and simple. 
A little 'Shabby Chic' - a little 'French Nordic'. 
I like to change my style for every season. 

I've brought in a large mirror and Florentine 
table that I found last summer at a Flea Market. 
I've kept the vintage baby crib from my fall decorating, 
but I've added white lace curtains to allow
as much light inside as possible. 

I made the pine-cone orb a few years ago
 and already had the wonderful pot. 
This year I just 'shopped my home' 
and storage for things to 
decorate with. 

Lots of texture.....crochet, lace and fur. 

I love this vintage crib. 
It was originally my daughter's doll crib :) 
I usually keep it in my sewing room filled with fabric. 

I can see my birdcage angel from here. 


A basket of wrapping and craft supplies. 

The table. 

I've replaced the display of fall pottery 
in my Hoover 'Kitchen Queen' cabinet 
with my collection of pressed and etched glass. 

Pale bottle brush trees and vintage tin molds used 
as tea-light holders keep things light. 

I made the vintage-style Father Christmas 
years ago out of cotton batting with a sticker face. 

The beautiful footed compote was a wedding gift in 1953 for my 
parents, as was the platter and salt and pepper shakers. 

My dear Mother-in-law's Johnson Bros. 

These small treasures remind us of loved 
ones now gone and keep them with us in spirit. 

The small star was Ramblin' Man's as a child. 

We have so few things passed down to us, 
so these small tokens are very dear. 

Beautiful sunshine streaming into the living room. 

In normally gray Washington State, this is a wonderful change. 

I've kept things simple and light here, too. 

Another Florentine table. 
I am in love with this beautiful style. 

Our tree. 



And an ice-cube snowman :)

The beautiful vintage window was found 
many years ago in a local antique shop. 
It came from an historic home in the area. 
The blue paint is original. 

My 1920's buffet came from England. 

Log cabins represent childhood memories of vacations 
at 'Butler's cabin' in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

The true reason for the season. 

Advent candles. 

The days are short as we approach the winter solstice. 

Time moves quickly as we prepare to celebrate 
another Christmas, looking back on the year past
and looking forward to the new one.  

I hope you find some simple joys in these 
busy days ahead, Dear Friends. 
Thank you for joining me, 
and thank you for your friendship. 


"At Christmas, all roads lead home"
-Marjorie Holmes-

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